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How Diablo Immortal’s Pay-To-Win Microtransactions Are Ten Times Worse Than ‘Genshin Impact’

In the wake of players discovering that Diablo Immortal’s endgame is entirely pay-to-win, where “winning” in a Diablo game is making a powerful build, I’ve heard a common argument.

Well, this is just how gacha games work. You just don’t get the mobile scene.”

Sure, I’ll say that there are many other games, particularly in the Asian market, that goad players into spending millions, thousands, tens of thousands of dollars chasing power, but I will also say this feels particularly bad because it’s Diablo, a series that we have experienced for two decades without this kind of P2W system, so it feels that much worse.

However, even compared to other high profile gacha/mobile titles, Diablo Immortal is still going above and beyond with its microtransactions in a way that is far, far worse than most other games in these genres.

I want to compare Diablo Immortal to Genshin Impact, a mobile/gacha game that is one of the most successful in the world, pulling in $3 billion in revenue, and seemingly the type of game you’d want to emulate.

But while Genshin Impact has been accused of being somewhat stingy in the past, it’s nothing compared to Diablo Immortal, not at all.

To get the basics set up, Diablo Immortal’s main draw are Legendary Crests, which when put into a Rift, that Rift will then spit out one legendary gem rated 1-5 stars. There are also Rare Crests, which free to players get somewhat often, but those are capped at 2 star gems. It costs 160 Eternal Orbs for one Legendary Crest.

Genshin Impact has 4 or 5 star hero characters, and 3 to 5 star weapons you can gamble for in its gacha system. It costs 160 primogems for one attempt. The same equivalent to the currency in Diablo Immortal.

The core difference here is the ability to grind out free attempts at each of these valuable star-based things by simply playing the game.

Diablo Immortal’s main issue is that it simply does not let you accumulate Legendary Crests at anything approaching a reasonable rate. As a free player, you are limited to getting three Legendary Crests a month, so 36 total a year. That’s not even enough to trigger the game’s inborn “pity timer” at 50 pulls which will reward you a potential X/5 star legendary gem. And you cannot earn Eternal Orbs at all in the game, it is a purely premium currency.

And another key point here, you cannot target which gem you’re getting. If you do finally land a 5 star one, you have literally zero ability to actually hunt for the one you want.

Genshin Impact is the polar opposite of this. By simply playing the game, you can amass thousands of primogems, meaning you can grind your way toward a large stack of free attempts at the characters you want when they come around. And that’s the other main difference, you can go for the characters you want, given that they will be featured in a specific banner. You don’t have to guess which of the game’s 20 five star characters you’re going to get, you know the only new 5 star in the pool is the one you want (though it is a 50/50 chance on your first 5 star drop it’s them, or an older one).

And then, not all this, Genshin Impact is just…a wildly more open game in terms of what you can do for free. There are no progression blockers meant to slow you down as you work your way through the story. There is no ultra-endgame content that demands build free-to-play players can’t make. You can play the whole thing for free, and Genshin makes money because people simply want the new characters that appear. They do not actually need them.

Diablo hard, hard limits your power with its Crest and gem system. And it caps how much you can even attempt to go for legendary gems at a rate so low it doesn’t even make sense, with just 3 crests a month. Let’s say a special event gives you another 1-2. Even then, compared to Genshin Impact which is throwing primogems at players at every turn, it’s not even close. I can save up a 100 pulls for a Genshin character every few patches probably. With Diablo, that would take several years playing for free, and I’m still not guaranteed to get what I want.

If you hate F2P mobile games and gacha titles, I don’t blame you. It’s a pretty rough system. And yet there is a way to do it “right” or at least far, far more right than what we’re seeing here with Diablo Immortal. If I were them, I’d learn from the game with $3 billion revenue and a die-hard fanbase, but what do I know?

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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